Middle region and islands
Valparaíso is the largest port city in the country with many sights. Just 8km north is Viña del Mar, Chile’s largest and most exclusive resort with casinos, clubs and modern hotels. It is also known as the »Garden City of Chile«. The Quinta Vergara Palace, in the park of the same name, houses an excellent picture gallery. The Valparaísos Sports Club has a racecourse, a polo field and soccer fields.
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Valparaíso has good rail and road connections to Santiago de Chile, the state capital. In the northeast of the city is Monte San Cristobal with a zoo, parks and restaurants. From here you have a good panoramic view of the city. in theSports facilities are available for Club Hippico and the Prince of Wales Country Club. On a stroll through the city you should especially pay a visit to the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. An excellent selection of pre-Columbian artifacts is on display. The Museo de Historia Natural exhibits the mummy of an Inca child found in the area. Wineries can be visited around the city. From Santiago de Chile you can reach the ski resorts of Portillo and Farellones. The season lasts from June to October. Those who drive further south through central Chile will reach Talca with its beautiful gardens and interesting museums.
650 km west of Valparaíso are the Juan Fernández Islands, which can be reached by boat or plane. Alexander Selkirk was shipwrecked here in the 18th century and the English writer Daniel Defoe used his adventures as a model for his world-famous novel »Robinson Crusoe«. Easter Island also belongs to Chile and is located 3800 km west of the mainland. In addition to the approximately 2000 islanders, Easter Island is populated by numerous huge stone figures of mysterious origin, the Moai. Equally fascinating are the crater of the Rano Kao volcano, the rock paintings in Oronco and the museum in the island’s capital , Hanga Roa. The easiest way to get to Easter Island is by plane. Tourist guides and innkeepers await passengers at the airport. Hotel accommodation can be booked from Santiago de Chile or Valparaíso, but this is not essential.
A visit to the impressive waterfalls in Laguna de Laja is recommended. Temuco is on the edge of the Lake District. The Lago Villarica, the Rio Trancura and the Rio Cincira are located in this beautiful landscape and are a true angler’s paradise. The Lago Todos Los Santos is another beautiful destination. At the southernmost end of the rail line and the Pan American Highway lies the quaint town of Puerto Montt. Nearby is the small fishing port of Angelmo. The more adventurous will visit the island of Chiloéwant to visit and possibly also the southernmost part of the country, the Magellanes broken up into several islands and islets,the spectacular glaciers and the rugged landscape of the Chilean parts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, which offer a very special nature experience in summer.
Located on the border with Peru, Arica is an attractive resort center with beautiful beaches and the famous San Marcos Cathedral. Driving south through the Atacama Desert is the Mamina Hot Springs and Rica Valley Oasis. Lauca National Park, 170 km northeast of Arica, is 4500 m above sea level. At Lago Chungará, a lake in the middle of the park, you can see flamingos and other birds, as well as the vicuñas, a species of llama. The port city of Antofagasta is called at by numerous shipping companies; at the same time it is also an important rail junction. From here you can visit the world’s largest open pit copper mine in Chuquicamata. A trip to the Salar de Atacama, a huge salt lake, is an experience. Geysers are another natural phenomenon of this region.
Further south is the town of Coquimbo with one of the best ports on the west coast. Very close by is the seaside resort of Los Vilos from where you can reach the nearby island of La Reine by boat. The provincial capital La Serena is located 15 km north of Coquimbo. This charming and beautifully landscaped city has many interesting buildings and streets. Many of the new buildings were built in the Spanish colonial style. La Serena is at the mouth of the Rio Elqui. The fertile Elqui Valley with many orchards is well worth a visit.
Good souvenirs include textiles such as colorful handwoven ponchos, llama wool sweaters, vicuña rugs and copperwork. Semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, jade, amethyst, agate and onyx are also favorable. Shop opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 10am-2pm. Shopping malls: daily 10am-9pm.
Many hotels and restaurants offer evening entertainment, and there are also numerous nightclubs and discos. There are casinos in Viña del Mar, Pucón, Puerto Varas and Arica.
Typical examples of local cuisine are empanadas (pies made with meat, poultry or fish and onions, eggs, raisins and olives), humitas (spiced corn paste rolled and cooked in corn husks), cazuela de ave (soup with rice, vegetables, chicken and various herbs). ), Bife a lo Pobre (steak with french fries, fried onions and fried egg) and Parrillada (a selection of charcoal grilled meats). Seafood is also excellent. The most famous are the lobsters of the Juan Fernández Islands. Abalones, sea urchins, clams, crabs and giant choros (clams) are also often on offer. Drinks: Chile is known for its excellent wine. Pisco is a high-proof liquor made from distilled grapes. The sweet brown chicha and aguardiente, a brandy, are also made from grapes. Beer is available across the country.
Excellent accommodation is available nationwide. Several new luxury hotels have recently opened in Santiago and other cities. They are divided into categories of 5-2 stars. Any lack of hotel facilities are made up for by the cozy atmosphere. In rural areas it is more common for the owner or manager to eat with the guests. During the high season you should definitely book in the holiday resorts in good time.
There are campsites all over the country. The official campsites are expensive, a list is available from the embassy.
Other accommodation options
Only members of the Asociación Chilena de Albergues Turísticos Juveniles can stay in Chilean youth hostels. Address: Hernando de Auirre 201, Of. 602, CL Providencia. (Tel: (02) 411 20 50. (Internet: www.hostelling.cl) Many youth hostels are overcrowded.
70% Catholic, 15.1% Evangelical; other Christian, Jewish, animist and Bahai minorities.
Social Rules of Conduct
Manners: When greeting someone shakes hands. Most Chileans have two surnames, and only the first is used when addressing them and in correspondence. The usual forms of politeness should be observed. Invitations to private homes are common, and small gifts are welcome. Dress: Casual, demure attire is accepted everywhere; Women should not wear shorts outside of resort centers. Tipping: Restaurants and bars charge 10% for service. Waiters expect another 10%.
Best travel time
Hot and dry in the north, very cold and rainy in the far south. The middle regions have a pleasant, almost Mediterranean climate with a rainy season from May to August.
Area (sq km)
19,116,201 (Source: homosociety)
Population density (per square km)
Population statistics year
Member of the EU
Main emergency number